Compact fluorescent light bulbs are widely praised for their energy-efficiency and relatively low price points. However, unlike traditional light bulbs, they pose a specific health risk to humans and pets.
Most compact fluorescent light bulbs are loaded with mercury vapor and mercury is poisonous — even in very small doses.
And, unfortunately, sometimes light bulbs break, releasing toxins into the air.
To assist homeowners in Minneapolis , the EPA published a series of CFL-handling guidelines on its website under the heading “How Should I Clean Up A Broken Fluorescent Bulb?“.
The EPA’s advice is specific and geared toward safety. A few of the tips include:
- Have people and pets leave the room immediately
- Shut down your home’s HVAC unit to prevent airflow
- Using rubber gloves, place glass fragments and “powder” in a glass jar, or sealed plastic bag.
In addition, the EPA says to throw out all clothing and bedding that has come into direct contact with a broken bulb. You should not attempt to wash items such as these. They may contain mercury fragments that could contaminate your laundry machines and/or your sewage system.
Lastly, make sure to keep your CFLs separate from your regular trash; they’re not meant for landfills. Compact fluorescent light bulbs should be recycled with a verified waste management company.
You can find one at http://earth911.com.